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Commercial Truck Drivers: What Can You Do If You Are Sick

If you are a truck driver who spends days or even weeks behind the wheel, you are going to find yourself not feeling well one day. Whether you are dealing with the flu, allergies, or something major, there are going to be times when you aren’t going to be able to get your rig where it needs to go. You may have to pull over for an hour (or even a day or two) to take care of yourself. If you aren’t in great shape, you aren’t going to be as safe as possible.

So, what should you do if you aren’t feeling well when you are behind the wheel? 

Have a well stocked pharmacy in your truck. You never know when you could get sick, so it is always a good idea to have a few items on hand for whatever is going on. You should start with some pain and allergy medications. Cough medicine can also be helpful to have on hand, as well as some throat lozenges so that you can focus on driving, not your throat! You may want to keep something on hand for upset stomach and heart burn, as well as some crackers and ginger ale.

It may also help to have some medication to help you sleep, just in case you need to pull over and sleep for a few hours. However, make sure that these are well labeled, so you don’t accidentally take something that will make it hard for you to concentrate on driving! 

Pull over safely. If you aren’t able to concentrate on driving due to the way that you feel, you are going to need to pull over to take a break. However, you shouldn’t just get off on the side of the road. If you are able, you should try to find a good parking lot or truck stop where you can take the time that you need to help you feel better. Though a parking lot may be nice, it often helps to be in a well-lit truck stop. You can get the supplies that you need, as well as use the restrooms while you are there. 

If you think that it is something that may just last for a few hours or a day, such as a headache or the flu, you may want to decide to stay where you are and rest. It might be best to take a few hours to sleep it off and then see how you feel. If you think that it is something that you need to go home for, you might have to make different arrangements. You should talk to your employer to determine what you should do. You might be able to have someone in your family come get you and take you home, though you may have to wait a few hours until you are able to get the rig home. 

Either way, you need to let everyone know what is going on. If you are employed, you will need to let your employer know. He or she will contact the appropriate people and let them know that you need a few more hours to get your load where it needs to be. If you are an owner operator, you are going to have to contact the people you are hauling for. They may be able to give you a few extra days to recover, though they may also need to find someone else to pick up the load that you were hauling.

Don’t wait to contact these people. Even if you just try to rest for an hour or two, you are putting yourself behind, and you may be missing certain deadlines. People need to know as soon as possible, so that they can make arrangements. 

Though you don’t want to think about it, there are going to be days when you just can’t get your load where it needs to be on time. For this reason, you may want to have a few medications on hand, just to deal with some headaches and colds that are bothering you. You may also want to have some medications on hand if your stomach isn’t feeling well. 

Listen to your body. If you are struggling behind the wheel, find a place to pull over. However, you need to let people know as soon as possible that you may be late. You don’t want to take a five-hour nap and then call them. Call them before you try to lay down. Waiting won’t help the situation. 

Contact us for all of your owner operator or commercial truck insurance needs. We are proud to serve Florida, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

David Ott

David Ott